EU failure to open membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia condemned

Juncker says failure of EU to keep its promises was ‘major historical mistake’

Leaders of the EU institutions have condemned the refusal to open membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania as a “historic mistake”.

In a blow to pro-EU politicians in the small Balkan states, EU government leaders missed a deadline to approve the launch of talks.

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Justin Trudeau is a fake progressive. Now Canada must vote for real ones | Martin Lukacs

Ahead of Monday’s election, little divides the Liberal prime minister and the reactionary Conservatives. But there is an alternative

How far Justin Trudeau’s star has fallen. In 2015, the rise of this hopey-changey wunderkind was supposed to usher in a bold new Canadian era: democratic reform, ambitious climate action, a plan to tackle inequality, and a new, respectful relationship with Indigenous peoples. But his Liberal party’s bid for re-election, ahead of the election on Monday, looks altogether different: this campaign is dominated by warnings, in ominous tones, about the threat posed by a resurgent, rightwing Conservative party.

Related: Canada election: can Trudeau excite young voters let down by broken promises?

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Bulgaria manager resigns as outgoing president hits out at Southgate

• ‘Only Southgate heard chants,’ says Mihaylov upon quitting
• Krasimir Balakov also resigns as Bulgaria manager

Borislav Mihaylov has confirmed he has resigned as president of the Bulgarian Football Union in the wake of the racist chanting that marred England’s 6-0 victory in Sofia on Monday and, having done so, hit out at Gareth Southgate, accusing the England manager of exaggerating the nature of the chanting that was directed at his black players during the Euro 2020 qualifier at Stadion Vasil Levski.

Mihaylov was speaking at a press conference on Friday and which followed a meeting of the BFU’s executive committee, during which it was decided that the national team manager, Krasimir Balakov, and the entire committee would also quit.

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‘He earned his spurs from a doctor’: Gen James Mattis mocks Donald Trump – video

The ex-defence secretary is laughing off an insult hurled at him by the US president. Speaking at a New York charity event a day after Trump demeaned him as ‘the world’s most overrated general’, Mattis joked that he took it as a compliment. ‘I’m honoured to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress,’ he said. ‘So I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals’

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Lebanon brought to a standstill by protests over economic crisis

Unrest could further destabilise country already carrying one of world’s biggest debtloads

Nationwide protests have paralysed Lebanon as demonstrators blocked major roads on a second day of rallies against the government’s handling of a severe economic crisis.

The protests, the largest since 2015 and could further destabilise a country whose economy is already on the verge of collapse and with one of the highest debt loads in the world.

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‘It’s party central’: the Bristol residents fed up with noisy student neighbours

‘Pre-loading’ students are causing sleepless nights in the handsome Victorian villas of Redland

Derrick Collier was feeling a little weary. “It’s party central around here. The students are taking over,” he said. “Last night two girls were hammering on the front door of the house opposite me at 3am for half an hour. It’s hard to get back to sleep after something like that.”

Collier won’t bother contacting the authorities about his ruined night. “I could spend my whole life reporting incidents,” he said.

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‘We do not want war’: Mexico president defends release of El Chapo’s son

Andrés Manuel López Obrador said security forces saved lives by releasing jailed kingpin’s son after his brief capture in Culiacán

Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has defended the country’s security forces, saying they had saved lives by releasing a son of jailed kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán after his brief capture in the north-western city of Culiacán.

Cartel gunmen on Thursday surrounded security forces in Culiacán, Sinaloa state, and made them free the drug lord’s son Ovidio Guzmán López after his detention triggered raging gunbattles and a prison break.

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How the wheels came off Facebook’s Libra project

Support for Mark Zuckerberg’s mission to reshape global finance is slipping away slowly but surely

When Facebook announced plans to launch a digital currency earlier this summer, it added a full-blown revolution in global finance to its typically vaulting Silicon Valley mission statement: to create a digital currency alongside its efforts to bring the world closer together through networks.

Over the past month, that mission has gone badly awry. The Libra cryptocurrency project now faces existential threats from world leaders and central bankers worried about its harmful potential: as a vehicle for money laundering, a threat to global financial stability, open to data privacy abuse, dangerous for consumers and stripping nations of the control of their economies by privatising the money supply.

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Trump mocked and criticized by ex-military leaders including Mattis – live

Ex-defense secretary said president ‘earned his spurs from a doctor’ while Gen Barry McCaffrey slammed Syria policy as ‘inexplicable’

State department official George Kent told House investigators leading the impeachment inquiry against Trump that he raised concerns about Hunter Biden’s foreign business activities in 2015, according to the Washington Post.

The Post reports:

George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, testified Tuesday that he worried that Hunter Biden’s position at the firm Burisma Holdings would complicate efforts by U.S. diplomats to convey to Ukrainian officials the importance of avoiding conflicts of interest, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality rules surrounding the deposition.

Kent said he had concerns that Ukrainian officials would view Hunter Biden as a conduit for currying influence with his father, said the people. But when Kent raised the issue with Biden’s office, he was told the then-vice president didn’t have the ‘bandwidth’ to deal with the issue involving his son as his other son, Beau, was battling cancer, said the people familiar with his testimony.

It’s mildly irritating that all these diplomats now recall raising concerns, but did it so quietly that no one can recall their having done it, there’s no paper trail and they can’t recall who they told.
The Trump/Biden episodes show that courage is hard and in short supply.

Republican senator Mitt Romney delivered a blistering critique of Trump’s Syria policy in a Senate floor speech yesterday, calling the US abandonment of the Kurds “a bloodstain on the annals of American history.”

But as the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake noted, Romney also interestingly suggested that Trump may have been bullied into the decision by the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Mitt Romney: "I simply don't understand why the administration did not explain in advance to Erdogan that it's unacceptable for Turkey to attack an American ally."

"Are we so weak and so inept diplomatically that Turkey forced the hand of the United States of America? Turkey?"

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